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Good Parties Make Good Neighbors

Steve is a senior at a Catholic university in Virginia. He lives off campus with several other members of the Lacrosse team. The young men just moved to a larger house, next door to a middle-aged woman and her two young children. There are 8 total lacrosse team members living in Steve’s house, and as a result, it tends to get loud even when only the residents are hanging out on the front lawn or in the backyard.

The team has thrown several small parties at the new house that have bothered their neighbor and her family. They usually just involve the housemates and a few friends playing drinking games and listening to music in the backyard (some of the guys in the house are of legal drinking age). Their neighbor has called in noise complaints to the local police department on several of these occasions, sometimes leading to a warning and other times leading to escalating fines.

A few weeks after their last fine, Steve’s team plans and executes a weeklong philanthropy event at their house. They donate all proceeds to So Others Might Eat. One of the week’s events involves teams bringing as much canned food as possible and constructing a creative sculpture out of these cans. The most creative can sculpture wins. Around 200 students show up to the event, which is held in the backyard. No drinking is taking place at the event, but there is music playing and the students are loud while building their sculptures. The cops show up at the event at 7pm and shut it down. They also fine the house $300 for a noise complaint violation. It seems that their neighbor has called in again. The students had little choice but to lessen the amount they donated to S.O.M.E.

The neighbor has complained to the university as well. The university claims that it has no authority in the matter since the students are living off campus. But the university wants to be a good neighbor. There is also concern that the neighbor could go to the press which always likes video of college kids playing drinking games wearing sweatshirts with the school logo (a cross) on them.

If you were Steve, what would you do?

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